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Wellbeing in later life

We partnered with Ipsos MORI to undertake a major social research project exploring people’s wellbeing in later life.

In 2015, early research helped shape our later understanding of the factors that help determine wellbeing in later life

Older lady at home

To better understand the barriers and enablers to a good later life, the Centre for Ageing Better commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct a mixed methods research study.

As highlighted in our 'Transforming later lives' strategy, we want more people in later life to be in good health, financially secure, to have social connections and feel their lives are meaningful and purposeful. We know that people who experience all or some of these have happier later lives.

Three key dimensions of a good later life were identified in the research:

  • health
  • financial security
  • social connections

These were consistent regardless of gender, ethnicity or other socio-demographic characteristics. These dimensions are interrelated and all influence each other. They also have an impact on the extent to which people feel happy, satisfied with their lives, and that their life has meaning and they are in control. Interestingly, the study revealed the significance of strong social connections and how they help some people to overcome disadvantages such as poor health or a lack of financial security.

We identified six later life groups of people aged 50 and over according to their experiences, circumstances and levels of wellbeing. These six groups (or segments) are of broadly similar size and are distributed evenly across the country:

  • Thriving Boomers
  • Downbeat Boomers
  • Can Do and Connected
  • Worried and Disconnected
  • Squeezed Middle Aged
  • Struggling and Alone

We want more people in later life to be in good health, financially secure, to have social connections and feel their lives are meaningful and purposeful. We know that people who experience all or some of these have happier later lives.